Morris Fuller the man behind the Scandal - Part 9


1887 and 1888


1887 was, in terms of  press coverage, a relatively quiet time. There is a  report of a meeting in February that tells of Morris being elected a member of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society and another in May heralding the publication of his Walsingham Abbey article as a separate booklet. In the  Lynn Advertiser for  September 10th,  there is what must be an "information supplied" write up of the Harvest Festival at St Andrew's. What prompted the inclusion of his Brighton College past life in such a practical way is not clear but it would tie up with an anniversary of 20 years since his ordination and leaving Brighton College where, as we have seen, he had been a scholar, with a brief career as an Assistant Classical Master following University. We also see the name of Mr Whyman the organist appear in this report, a name that was to appear in connection with another incident that persisted in the locality after Morris Fuller left Ryburgh.





Ten days later, in the pages of the Shoreditch Observer on September 17th., was printed what would appear to be an encouraging report of the Boarding Out situation in Great Ryburgh. It gives no inkling at this point of what was to unfold the following year:






As we already know from the pages of the "Scandal", 1888 was not a good year for Morris Fuller. The book however didn't reprint all the available press material and in researching the newspaper columns for verification of the book's contents I came across further reports of the "goings on" in our village. The pages of national papers as well as the Dereham and Fakenham Times have additionally the following tales to tell:


March 24th. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


March 31st. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


March 31st. 1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)


If you have not already done so, now is time to read the Ryburgh ScandalHere  


November 24th  1888. Peoples Weekly Journal.(DFT)



Norfolk News of the same date was a little less shy about identifying the "public man":



Clearly there was a serious issue brewing in the village and someone in the locality was intent on adding more fuel to the fire above as we see in this rather humourous account the following week in the Eastern Daily Press:  



Ryburgh December 1888


A Norfolk Rector Charged with Assault.


On Monday at Fakenham Petty Sessions, the Rev. Morris Joseph Fuller, rector of Great Ryburgh, was charged with unlawfully assaulting Gladwin Lewell Bradfield, assistant overseer of Ryburgh, on December 24th. The case attracted a good deal of attention. There were solicitors on both sides. The complainant was called. He said that on Christmas Eve, in consequence of a notice he saw on the church door, he attended a meeting in the vestry. The notice was in the Rector’s handwriting, and the meeting was to receive tenders for supplying coal. The Rector saw him in the porch, and said, “What do you want” Complainant replied that he had come to the meeting. Defendant retorted, “You have no business here,” and seizing witness by the collar, pushed him violently, so that the witness fell upon a form.-Henry Ely corroborated.- The Rector’s churchwarden and the parish clerk were called for the defense.- After their evidence the Bench retired, and in a short time found that an assault had been committed, but of too trivial a nature to warrant conviction. They also thought that the complaint was not bona fide, and that the case was of so trivial a nature that they refused to convict, expressing the opinion that the case would never have been brought forward but for the ill-feeling existing in the parish.


Meanwhile with all this going on its business as usual in St Andrew's:



It would have to wait for the Dereham and Fakenham Times first edition of 5th January 1889 to retell the Court proceedings in full of the alleged assault made by the Rector on Christmas Eve 1888.

Part 10



Page last updated: 30th December 2021 2:56 PM